Field experiments in the subtropical Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas were conducted to determine the extent of adult boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), dispersal from cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., fields during harvest operations and the noncotton-growing (“overwinter”) period between 1 September and 1 February. Using unbaited large capacity boll weevil traps placed at intervals extending outward from commercial field edges, boll weevils did not move in substantial numbers during harvest much beyond 30 m, primarily in the direction of prevailing winds. From traps placed in fallow cotton; citrus; lake edge; pasture; treeline; sorghum, Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench, and sugarcane, Saccharum spp., habitats during the overwinter period, the most boll weevils were collected in the fallow cotton fields and adjacent treelines during the fall. However, the greatest abundances of boll weevils were found in citrus orchards in the spring, before newly planted cotton fields began to square. One of the three lake edges also harbored substantial populations in the spring. Egg development in females was not detected between November and April, but in cotton fields most females were gravid between May and August when cotton fruiting bodies were available. Mated females, as determined by discoloration of the spermatheca, made up 80–100% of the female population during November and December but declined to ≈50% in February. The lower incidence of mating indicates a reduction in physical activity, regardless of overwinter habitat, until percentages increased in March and April after cotton fields had been planted and squares were forming.
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Vol. 99 • No. 4